Chief of Police, Trevor Botting, this afternoon stated:

‘It was wrongly reported this morning on Saint FM that the St Helena Sea Rescue Boat was out of service and unavailable for emergencies. This seems to be linked to an incident on Friday morning (21/02/14) when a yacht slipped its moorings in James’ Bay and was drifting out to sea.

‘The yacht in question was recovered by the WideAwake and returned without incident to its moorings. The Sea Rescue Team had deployed to support the WideAwake, but stood down when it was established that this was no longer necessary.

‘Saint FM suggested that the Sea Rescue Boat was not fit for purpose and that no consultation was carried out before its purchase.  Again, this is incorrect, and was broadcast without checking the facts. There was wide consultation with a range of stakeholders before the purchase of the current craft, including with local fisherman, divers and harbour authorities.  Such consultation is critical to ensuring that the most suitable craft is obtained to suit local sea conditions and the types of rescue the boat may have to carry out.

‘Similar work is currently being undertaken to establish what sea rescue craft may be required to enhance our capability prior to the opening of the Airport.

‘To conclude, let me be absolutely clear.  Contrary to the entirely wrong and irresponsible report on Saint FM this morning, the Fire and Sea Rescue Service remains fully prepared to deploy in response to incidents in the waters around St Helena. The safety of Saints, visitors and those passing by remains our top priority.’  

Trevor Botting

Chief of Police

 24 February 2014

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